Vineyard Thrift

"Treading the Grapes"
Early 3rd century A.D.
Mosaic at Saint-Roman-en-Gal, in France

Some landowners planned for the long-term, encouraging their slave women to have as many children as possible, even granting them freedom once they had borne more than three sons. It was recognized that a babe-in-arms one year would be a nimble-limbed grape-picker just a decade or so later.

Again to save money, some vintners used chained slaves (ex-criminals bought for just a few hundred sestertii) to cultivate their land. But conservative Romans had trouble with the morality and doubtful economics of this practice: "....for the Earth itself would be pained and indignant were her soil to be the hands of malefactors with branded faces." (Pliny, Natural History XVIII.21). Every other kind of saving that anyone came up with, however small, was respected by Rome's landed gentry and surely mimicked to good effect.